How to Use TireFit
Obviously, we are no better than the ones who tried before us. Instead of going about the philosophical aspect of the matter, we chose to present you with a more practical, but still temporary solution. One that does not ask of you to get on your knees, get your hands dirty or even use a lug wrench.
Far from being, at least for now, the new trend, a few manufacturers, especially German (it was after all first used by Mercedes) and American ones, chose more and more often to provide the vehicle you buy not with a spare tire, as you would have expected, but with what they call a TireFit kit.
What is it?
A TireFit kit is a do-it-yourself flat tire repair tool, made up of an air compressor (either manual or electric) and a chemical tire sealant, housed in a pressurized can, fitted with an extension tube. The two components are not to be used together, but in sequence.
How does it work?
Basically, TireFit does not solve the problem, but provides a temporary solution for the unlucky motorist. The pressurized can allows the sealant to be introduced inside the tire, using the tire valve as a mean of delivery. The sealant will then act as a band aid, covering the interior of the tire, as well as the puncture "wound." The second step is to use the air compressor to pump the air back into the tire.
How to use it?
The extension tube on the can is to be placed on the tire valve, just as you would with an air pump or compressor hose. By pressing the can's nozzle, sealant is pumped into the tire chamber. It is important that you empty the can into the tire.
Once the can is empty - be careful not to throw it away it is an environmental "no-no" - it is time for the compressor. Use its hose to connect it to the tire valve and begin inflating the wheel. This acts as a way for the sealant to be pushed against the inside of the tire and fill in the holes. This is not superglue, so you do not need to wait around for it it work. When the tire is inflated, you're good to go.
Still, the first kilometers of the trip with the patched up wheel are critical. Be sure that for at least the first two kilometers you do not exceed 30 km/hour. Otherwise, the spinning motion will send the sealant flying all over the inside of the tire, instead of evenly adhering to the tire walls.
Once past this point there should be no "flooring" it. It is recommended that you do not exceed 80 km/hour because you are, after all, still running a flat.
Don't count on it for long, though. The sealant can only get you so far and you should look to get the tire professionally fixed as soon as possible, as there is yet no conclusive data of how long you can travel like this (the distance may vary according to the road surface, potholes, gradient).
Once you find a service, the problem will get permanently dealt, the old fashion way. That is by taking the wheel off, getting it fixed, putting it back on... By professionals, of course.
The bright side
TireFit is small, compact and uses about as much space as a shaving kit would. It is as easy to use as it gets and doesn't involve getting your hands dirty or twisting your body in unnatural ways. When a flat is the last thing you need to worry about, the kit helps you reduce the time spent fixing it. It is ideal for covering up small punctures in the tire and it does not involve asking all the car's occupants to step out of the car so you can jack it up.
The dark side
As some of you might know, flats tend to come in pairs, a trait which will render the single can of sealing useless. To be used effectively, the hole in your tire needs to comply to some size and shape requirements, but they rarely do. TireFit becomes less effective when applied to cover a larger hole.
The time gained by using it gets lost while properly repairing the tire. In addition, having no spare wheel whatsoever will only make things worse if the flat is not caused by a puncture, but by damaging the rim.
To put an end to it, it is time to say we find TireFit not to be as useful as it may first appear to be. But, as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And so is usefulness.